I had my credit card in my hand and the cursor hovered over the words “checkout.” All I had to do was click on my computer mouse and those clothes would be mine in seven to 10 days, (my gratification slightly delayed for the sake of free shipping). Debt, as far as vices go, is my other chip dip.

This is a true story of how chip dip saved my life, and how it could do the same for you. Trust me. You can thank me later. You may think my obsession with this particular junk food is just comedic fodder for the sake of this column, but I assure you, I take my sodium-fueled, cream cheese-laden addiction as seriously as my credit rating. I cherish them both, however I abuse them both for similar reasons: personal therapy.

If you’ve read this column for any length of time, you know a few key things about me. First, the aforementioned addiction is vital to my personal character. Second, I don’t enjoy shopping, particularly in malls. I am terrified of change rooms and mirrors. Third, I don’t make enough money to live in the lifestyle I deserve, which would afford me a personal shopper, a gym membership and a whole lot of chip dip. Also, I have a tendency to over-exaggerate. Finally, all of the above relate to my anxiety disorder, which I have self-diagnosed because neurosis is what I do best.

September comes with a lot of financial strain for anyone with children. No matter what stage of the game you’re in, this is the month you register them for every extracurricular activity you can to supplement your parental guilt or your own childhood issues. Lunches, backpacks, two pairs of shoes, pizza days, you name it – it all adds up (I bow to those with kids in post-secondary. Tuition? Yikes). It’s also the season of hockey dues, dance registration, equipment for all of the above, and if that doesn’t stress you out, Christmas is just three months away. Gasp. If the Carpenter and I are feeling the draft of overdraft, I’m willing to bet it’s chilly in your house too.

But on Friday night, the budget had room for chip dip. It was a celebratory event, I swear. Alas, I may have over-indulged, exceeding my two-sittings-to-one-tub of chip dip ratio. Hey, I’m no amateur at this bloat sport.

So Sunday, when the email from my favourite store arrived in my inbox with the promise of 40 per cent off everything in their online store, I tried super hard to forget all the financial issues listed above. I could shop from home in my pyjamas. No mall. No change room. Just me, comforted that my store had the pants I wanted, in the size I needed in a great colour for fall. Inside voice: isn’t this what credit cards are for? Oh, and I’m going to need that sweater to go with those pants. After all, it’s on sale.

That’s when the voice of reasonable doubt took the microphone and said, “After that chip dip, really? Those pants? Ha! Wait a month and start exercising.” She’s nasty, but fair.

Just like that, the chip dip saved not only my credit rating, but ultimately, my life. I am happy with my choice. Chip dip I can walk off, but Visa wants to own my soul.